Electronic monitoring - unreliable and costly

Every so often, usually on the initiative of a frenzied Minister for Justice or histrionics from opposition justice spokespersons, legislation is enacted to provide for some harebrained initiative to deal with the latest crime “wave”. Such has been the electronic monitoring of known or suspected criminals. Enabling provisions allowing for this were introduced in the Criminal Justice Acts of 2006 and 2007. But nothing has happened and for reasons that might have been obvious at the time.

Moving mental facility to Thornton Hall ill advised

John Moloney, the new Minister for State with responsibility for Mental Health, has a genuine commitment to improving mental health facilities and to reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems. In private therefore he must be concerned by the insistence of the government on going ahead with the relocation of the Central Mental Hospital from Dundrum to the site of the new prison at Thornton Hall in North County Dublin.

Media propounds negative perceptions of immigrants

The Irish mass media is primarily responsible for propounding widely held negative attitudes to immigrants and asylum seekers. This is a key finding of a recent study into immigration undertaken by sociologists from the University of Limerick and Mary Immaculate College. Only two media outlets in Ireland reported on the study, Drivetime (on RTE Radio 1) and the Irish Times, and neither piece dealt with the issue of the media informing attitudes on immigration.

Binging on alcohol task force

Brian Lenihan is awaiting another report from another task force on alcohol abuse, four years after a splendidly produced report was published by another task force. This was called ‘Strategic Task Force on Alcohol, Second Report'. There were 37 members of that task force. Everyone who was anyone in the alcohol business or anti-alcohol business was on it: Gardaí, public servants, representatives of the drinks industry, young people, psychiatrists, representatives of the sports council.

Mosney: a holiday camp no more

Seaview, a documentary of the lives of asylum seekers living in the Mosney holiday camp, was one of few films selected for screening at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival in February 2008. The film was shot over three years by Nicky Gogan and Paul Rowley who lived and worked with the residents in Mosney. Sara Burke writes about the film and its makers.

55 homeless people died in 2006

A recent report by the Simon Community of Ireand has said that 55 homeless people under its care died in 2006; 25 in Cork, 18 in Dublin, four in Dundalk, and eight in Galway. The average age of those who died was 42, almost half of the 78-year average life expectancy of an Irish person.

Immigrants, Migrants the New Irish

Ireland's stable economy and English-speaking population has attracted many tens of thousands of EU accession-state citizens. These in turn have helped Ireland's economy and are now an integral part of Ireland's demographic make-up. As a generation of new bi-lingual Irish children enter the Irish schooling system, there needs to be an all-encompassing discussion on the language issues facing Ireland's new multi-lingual families. By Dr Tomasz Kamusella.